Available June 15, 2015

"Dr. McFarland told us we were the only ones who could cure the unfortunates under our care. Our benevolent kindness would lead them to sanity. At first I believed him, but it was not long before I learned of unspeakable acts committed on those lost souls."
For Their Own Good
For Their Own Good

Available June 15, 2015 at
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Road to Jacksonville

Many people ask me how I came to write For Their Own Good. I mean, who remembers or cares about the plight of nineteenth century women in an asylum located on the edge of a small Midwestern town?

An attempt to verify an old family rumor started everything. I had always heard my grandmother was committed to the Illinois State Hospital for the Insane in Jacksonville, Illinois when she was young, spent some time there, and returned home to raise her family. I began to wonder: What did she do that was so bad she was put in an asylum? What did they do to her in that hospital? Why did they release her?

On one of my family visits to Illinois, my niece and nephew and I drove to Springfield to see if we could find out if the story about Grandma was true. Due to modern privacy laws, we were not given access to patients records, even if they were decades old, but we did learn a lot about the history of the hospital. I didn’t realize it at the time, but For Their Own Good was conceived that day in the Illinois State Archives reading room.

As a college psychology student in the sixties I had a summer job at the hospital. Since everyone wore street clothes, I often couldn’t tell the difference between patients and the attendants who held the keys. My days at work were blurred by fatigue caused by late-night partying, but I do have distinct memories of wide hallways and the vacant eyes of individuals at the mercy of an institution determined to change them.

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